There isn’t enough you can demand from a short film, for they are hard to make and limited to achieving a singular purpose. Doodlebug, One Minute Time Machine are a few of my favorites that are brilliant in illustrating their ideas effectively within minutes. Atul Mongia’s Awake has more than one idea to confer, and it mostly succeeds in landing all of it. Though, it lacks what makes a short story exceptional – repeat value!
The story is of an unconscious husband (Yudhistir Urs), who is nursed by his determined wife (Ishika Mohan Motwane). The wife is a professional photographer, pretty excellent at her job, and has multiple ways to go in her career. Though, ever since her husband went into a coma, she had dropped-off her ambitions and prioritized him above everything else.
Her friends, who bonded more with her husband once, for how gregarious he used to be, have given up on him and continuously advise her to move on in her career and drop the half-dead body at a place he can be looked after. Unwilling to accept the same, she thoroughly considers the matter once an old flame reenters her life.
In a home production, Ishika Motwane has done a fairly impressive job playing a complex character, where she is required to be expressive and less vocal. There are two fantastic scenes where she, at first, undergoes an open-conversation about her tragic marriage life, and later, shares an intense moment with her old enthusiast (Nicholas Brown). Both the scenes form the crux of the story and are acted and filmed superbly.
Awake is About Differentiating Between Real and Artificial
The central themes of Awake encapsulate loss of companionship, dealing with tragedy, and, most importantly, distinguishing between what’s real and artificial. Through brief flashbacks, we are told that Vikram (name of the husband) was an extremely sociable person who never devoted enough time to his wife and did not make calculated plans for their future, for his optimism felt too overstated.
These are good bits as they give a relevant message to the current generation for handling their life and relationships more sincerely. Furthermore, the fine line between having real friends versus friends-with-benefits is drawn very well that underlines an individual’s severely shallow understanding of true friendship.
Similar can be said about Sameera (name of the wife), who is portrayed as a sensible character, for she knows her limits that apply to every individual post-marriage. Her refusal to rekindle her relationship with a returning friend bestows an urgent message for the modern-day couples, who mostly do not understand true love or devotion.
The Gloomy Atmosphere Could Have Been Better Handled
Though very accurate in emphasizing its messages, Awake could have benefited significantly with a more uplifting conclusion, which would have made it’s ending a bit more robust. The last 2-3 minutes illustrate the contentment of the wife in being with her husband, regardless of his medical condition, for he is the one who truly matters to her.
Its a fine ending but not very satisfying. Permeating more enthusiasm at the end would have made the film remarkable, considering its subject is very dark and depressing, something a person does not want to savor for long.
Nonetheless, Atul Mongia accomplishes enough with Awake to make it a relevant film in its genre. It was released initially for free on Mami Year Round Programme Home Theater, and later on YouTube, under We Are One – Global Film Festival. You can watch the trailer below.
Rating: 3 / 5
Have you seen Awake? What do you think of its effectiveness? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.